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Disney's net income up 33 percent

Still from the Disney animated film, "Frozen."
Still from the Disney animated film, "Frozen." Disney

The Walt Disney Co. said Wednesday that its first quarter net income increased 33 percent to $1.8 billion.

Disney had increases in sales across all of its divisions, from its theme parks to its retail stores. Overall revenues were up 9 percent to $12.3 billion. 

“These results reflect the strength of our unprecedented portfolio of brands, a constant focus on creativity and innovation, and the continued success of our long-term strategy,” said CEO and Chairman Robert A. Iger in a statement. 

Disney's studio entertainment division saw sales increase 23 percent to nearly $1.9 billion. The company attributed the growth to the strong performance of "Frozen" and Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World," compared to "Wreck-It Ralph" and no Marvel film during the same period last year.

Iger said in a conference call with investors that the company's studio strategy is working, aimed at three types of movies: bigger releases with broad appeal, animation like "Frozen" and lower budget original films like "Saving Mr. Banks." He said there are plans to bring "Frozen" to Broadway.

Sales at Disney parks and resorts were up 6 percent to nearly $3.6 billion, due to an increase in guest spending. Meanwhile, the company saw sales increase 11 percent to $1.1 billion in its consumer products division. Revenues at Disney's media networks' was up four percent to nearly $5.3 billion.

Strong performance in Disney Interactive

The company's gaming division, Disney Interactive, had a strong first quarter, with sales increasing 38 percent to $403 million. Sales were boosted by the the popularity of Disney's Infinity games, which lets consumers take popular characters on adventures.

Iger said in a conference call with investors that there are plans to make future versions of Infinity. In terms of the rest of the Interactive division, Iger said there will be more licensing rather than publishing for consoles. He added the division will continue to grow the business with mobile games.

The company also said to expect results in Disney Interactive to be "lumpy" throughout the year.

Media outlets have reported that layoffs are on the horizon for Disney Interactive workers. The Wall Street Journal said Disney plans to lay off hundreds of workers in this division, including Playdom, which has created games played on Facebook or mobile phones. 

Disney spokeswoman Carrie Davis declined comment.

"The initial Wall Street Journal story that ran was based purely on rumor and speculation," Davis wrote in an e-mail to KPCC.

On Tuesday, the California Employment Development Department told KPCC that Disney has not filed a WARN notice, which lets the state know if there are massive layoffs. 

Disney stock closed at $71.76 a share, up 71 cents on Wednesday.

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